By EVAN REID
FLORENCE, Wis. - Four 17-year-olds allegedly involved in a March vandalism spree which damaged over 50 mailboxes in the Florence and Spread Eagle, Wis. areas entered not guilty pleas in Florence County Court on Tuesday.
Nathan Manicor of Florence pleaded not guilty to 39 misdemeanor counts of criminal damage to property. Manicor waived his right to an attorney.
Destinee McVannel of Florence pleaded not guilty to 55 misdemeanor counts of criminal damage to property-as a party to a crime.
Nicholas Garavet of Iron River pleaded not guilty to 55 misdemeanor counts of criminal damage to property.
Savanna Mascarette of Florence pleaded not guilty to 55 misdemeanor counts of criminal damage to property-as a party to a crime.
Mascarette's attorney, Gregory Seibold of Iron Mountain, filed a motion to dismiss the criminal complaint in the case on the basis that it did not contain enough factual evidence to support the charges against his client, and because the complaint had been signed by someone other than the complaining officer.
Judge Leon D. Stenz denied the motion, but did order that the complaint must receive the proper signature and be re-filed within 48 hours.
In Wisconsin, 17-year-olds alleged to have violated criminal law are subject to prosecution as adults. If convicted, each suspect could face up to nine months in jail.
All four suspects are scheduled to appear for a final pre-trial on June 3. In each case, bond was set at $500.
The names of four juveniles also arrested in connection to the incident have not been released.
Florence County Sheriff Jeff Rickaby said there was no particular motive for the vandalism, which covered an area including Lake Ellwood Road, Old 69 Road, and Finn Town Road among others.
According to the criminal complaint, deputies from the Florence County Sheriff's Department received a call on the night of March 28 from a Florence resident who reported that their mailbox had been vandalized.
Deputies searched the area and discovered mailboxes that had been smashed with a baseball bat or similar object and some that had been torn from their posts and discarded in the woods.
Deputies also found red plastic cups and a package of table tennis balls on the ground near the edge of Frog Lake Road, the complaint states.
The sheriff's department worked with the Wal-Mart in Iron Mountain to obtain photos of transactions involving table tennis balls, which led to interviews with several people. One of the interviews provided information that lead to the arrests, Rickaby said.
He added that the group made two trips to do the damage, with a different combination of people on each trip.
Evan Reid's e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.